Wild predictions of holiday extreme cold are premature

Record-setting arctic blast for Christmas week questionable.

By Eric Braate - Weather Executive Producer
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HOUSTON - Word appears to be spreading that there is a record-setting arctic invasion poised to put Houston into an extended deep freeze Christmas week. 

While anything is possible, including pipe-bursting cold temperatures well into the teens, it's too early to make pinpoint predictions two weeks in advance about just how cold -- or warm -- our weather will be.  Simply put, the data meteorologists use to predict the weather that far in advance is not reliable enough.

Computer forecast models ARE predicting colder-than-normal temperatures for the week of Christmas. However, the very high error in a forecast for two weeks from now precludes us from drawing any meaningful conclusions about what the temperatures will be for the holiday.

The computer models meteorologists use to generate forecasts are analogous to someone heading out for target practice. You'll likely be a lot more accurate with a pistol at 20 yards from your target than at 200 yards. Likewise, a computer forecast model is more accurate two days from the target than two weeks from the target.

Know that we're watching the forecast very closely for the holiday. It's a very important time for many and the weather can have a big impact on people's plans. So, as the the Christmas and New Year holidays get closer and the forecast models become more reliable, we will be sure to provide a forecast that you can rely on as you prepare for and navigate through this crazy season.

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